Penne with summer pesto

Penne with summer pesto


1 person made this

About this recipe: Wholewheat pasta is a good source of complex carbohydrate and has a low GI value. Tossed with steamed summer vegetables and a fresh herb pesto, perhaps made ahead, this makes a tempting and satisfying meal.

Maggie Pannell

Serves: 4 

  • 15g fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 15g fresh coriander
  • 15g fresh mint
  • 40g pine nuts
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 85ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g Parmesan or Italian-style hard cheese, freshly grated
  • 3 courgettes, sliced
  • 8 spring onions (white part only), sliced
  • 200g shelled fresh peas
  • 200g shelled fresh baby broad beans, or fine green beans, halved
  • 350g wholewheat penne or fusilli (quills or spirals)

Prep:20min  ›  Cook:13min  ›  Ready in:33min 

  1. Put a large pan of lightly salted water on to boil. Add the leeks and cook gently for 3 minutes until just tender. Remove the leeks to a plate using a draining spoon. Preheat the grill to medium.
  2. Place the pancetta on the rack of the grill pan and grill for 2 minutes until beginning to crisp. Remove and break into rough pieces.
  3. Bring the water back to the boil and if necessary, top up with a little more boiling water from the kettle. Drop the pasta into the water and cook for 6 minutes, or according to the pack instructions, until ‘al dente’. Add the peas to the water for the last 3 minutes of the and bring back to the boil. Stir occasionally to make sure that no pasta is sticking to the base of the pan.
  4. Lightly whisk the eggs with the crème fraîche and freshly ground black pepper to season. Drain the pasta and peas and immediately return them to the hot pan. Stir in the egg mixture, which will cook in the heat of the pasta. Then quickly add the pancetta, leeks and parsley and lightly toss everything together.
  5. Sprinkle over the Parmesan and season to taste with more pepper. Serve immediately.

Parmesan cheese

Parmesan cheese is not truly vegetarian, as it contains animal rennet. To make this dish 100% vegetarian, omit the cheese or find a suitable vegetarian substitute made without animal rennet. In supermarkets look for the 'parmesan style hard cheeses' which are suitable for vegetarians.


For a more traditional pesto, use fresh basil leaves rather than coriander and mint. Flaked almonds work well as an alternative to pine nuts.

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